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In August 2012, MSU Denver opened its state-of-the-art Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, one of only a few nationwide collegiate hospitality learning laboratories with a fully functioning hotel.
The 28,000-square-foot academic building, plus the adjacent SpringHill Suites – Denver Downtown® by Marriott, were designed to provide unparalleled hands-on education for the University’s hospitality, tourism and events (HTE) majors.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan told more than 200 community and business leaders that the facility would have a major impact on student learning. He thanked the University’s trustees and foundation board members for moving forward with the project just as the economy had started to slip into recession.
“To do this at a time when nobody was building anything in the country…it took some real courage and leadership on their part,” he said.
Walter Isenberg, who is president, CEO and co-founder of Sage Hospitality and an MSU Denver trustee, noted how the buildings would bring new learning opportunities for students as they worked alongside professionals from the hotel’s management company. He also emphasized that 100 percent of the hotel’s profits would go to the foundation to provide scholarships for HTE students.
Chad Gruhl, then-chair of the HTE Department, was most excited about how the facility would create more career opportunities for students.
“Once more employers know what we’ve created here…they’re going to want our students even more than they currently do because of that real-world experience,” he said.